Diet sodas or drinks refer to carbonated beverages that are sweetened with artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, sucralose or acesulfame-k. If you think about it, almost every popular soda brand on the market has a diet or a “light” version available. Technically they should be good for dieters as they contain no calories, and help to prevent sugar-related diseases, but evidence of these drinks being beneficial is completely non-existent.
Artificial sweeteners are what the word suggests: synthetic or fabricated. The main problem with these sweeteners is that they have a more intense flavour than real sugar. Over time, our taste buds get used to diet products and they have the same effect on the body than real sugar. Your body will crave sugar more, and this will result in higher insulin levels, which will result in your body increasing its fat storage.
The Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study monitored a group of women with an average age of 62 years. They found that among the 60,000 women who participated in the study, there was a clear relationship between cardiovascular problems and their consumption of diet drinks.
In a study of around 6,800 people aged between 45 and 85 years of age, it was found that diet soda was linked to a 67 percent increased risk of developing type II diabetes; data from two Harvard studies also showed that diet drinks raise the risk of diabetes in women, but not in men. Consuming diet drinks on a daily basis can increase the risk with as much as six percent with every serving.
Postmenopausal women – normally above the age of 50 years – are more prone to develop diabetes, a higher BMI and high blood pressure by consuming more than two diet drinks per day. They are also 50 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular disease compared to women who do not consume diet drinks. Researchers have also found a link between bone density and the consumption of sods – both regular and diet – by older women.
Metabolic syndrome refers to a group of risk factors that can significantly increase your chances of developing conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high glucose levels and accumulated fat around the waist. Metabolic syndrome is seen as having three or more of the following: low HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, abdominal obesity or body fat, high triglycerides and high fasting glucose.
A study by the American Diabetes Association found that diet soda drinkers showed a 36 percent increased risk of metabolic syndrome and a drastically increased risk of diabetes. So yes, diet drinks may not have any calories, but they don’t have any nutritional value either. When you consume diet drinks, the body will crave more sugar, elevating artificial sugar intake and increasing the risk of health problems.